Monday, March 26, 2007

Inept Mama

That's going to be my new name.

For those of you who don't already know, my son Perrin is mildly autistic and severely ADHD. He also has something called Auditory Processing Disorder (basically dyslexia for the ears).

For the most part, he acts and appears to be like any second grader. Underneath, however, he's not. He generally copes very well with his challenges, but lately, he's not been able to do so.

Typically, he compensates for the Auditory Processing disorder by paying close attention to the speaker. He lipreads as much as he listens. This works well for him. As for the autism and associated mood swings, we've taught him to watch for signs of anger, and taught him what to do when he notices them. The school works with us on this point, and he has a designated spot he can go to if he needs to cool off. Sometimes he goes to his spot because he's frustrated with schoolwork. Sometimes he goes to his spot because something another child has done or said upset him. He's generally pretty damn good at self-monitoring...he knows when his heart starts to race and his muscles tense up, he needs to put himself in time-out. While there, he does deep breathing exercises, sings a song to himself, or some other self-calming activity. Within a few minutes, he's back to his old self, and he can rejoin his classmates.

But lately it hasn't worked. He hasn't been able to catch himself. In the last week, he has spent not one, not two, but three days mostly in the office because he couldn't bring himself down. When he gets that angry, he simply shuts down. He just sits there, with his arms crossed, and won't talk. Sometimes he'll throw his glasses or huff and puff. If he gets to this point, it seems that talking to him only makes it's as if he's determined that no one can help him. If he doesn't come out of it on his own, he's not going to come out of it.

The first time the school called, I was quite concerned, but I figured we would chalk it up to one bad day. The next day, however, I got two MORE calls from the school. Yet another bad day. I went to the school and finally got him talking - turned out someone had knocked him over during lunch recess while trying to take the basketball away. That ruined his entire afternoon. That day, he was running a slight fever, and I thought maybe he was getting sick...but he didn't get sick. Then today, I got a call at almost 3:00...he had been in the office since lunch...they weren't sure why he was upset...and he refused to get on the bus. I went to the school and spent an hour talking with him (he was mostly silent) and his teachers...trying to figure out what happened, and what we could do to keep it from happening again.

I feel so helpless. I don't know how to help my baby. I am Inept Mama.

No comments: